The statewide poll by the nonpartisan firm Elway Research found 45 percent of voters ranked education as the top priority for lawmakers, with the economy coming in second at 22 percent.

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A new poll suggests voters want Washington’s Legislature to put education at the top of its to-do list in the coming session — but most said they’d rather cut government than raise taxes to solve the state’s school-funding crisis.

The statewide poll by the nonpartisan firm Elway Research found 45 percent of voters ranked education as the top priority for lawmakers, with the economy coming in second at 22 percent.

It’s the third year in a row education has made the top spot, reflecting increasing pressure on lawmakers to abide by the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling, which found the state shirking its constitutional duty to fully fund public schools.

Lawmakers are under a deadline to come up with a final McCleary solution this year, but Republicans and Democrats remain divided on the price tag and whether to raise taxes.

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Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee recently proposed raising taxes by more than $4 billion over the next two years (increasing to more than $8 billion by 2019-21 biennium) to fully fund basic education while avoiding cuts to other programs.

Inslee’s plan includes a new tax on capital gains, a carbon tax and a major tax increase on service businesses. Republicans have panned the proposal, but have yet to unveil their own plan.

Elway’s poll found a majority of respondents wary of tax increases, with 56 percent saying they’d support lawmakers funding education first and financing the rest of government with what’s left over — even if that means cutting programs. Only 34 percent opposed that concept.

By comparison, voters appeared much more divided when asked if the state should raise business taxes to fund schools without making deep cuts to other services: 47 percent said they’d support that, but 46 percent opposed the idea.

Pollster Stuart Elway noted the poll didn’t specify which programs might face the ax if lawmakers don’t want to raise taxes, making it easier to say cuts are acceptable. Still, he said the results do show a resistance to new taxes.

“As has been clear for years, the public is not going to lead the Legislature out of this problem,” Elway wrote in a poll memo.

The poll of 500 registered voters was conducted Dec. 27-29 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.